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tv   U.S. Senate Blocks Paul War Authority Amendment 61-36  CSPAN  September 13, 2017 10:00am-10:51am EDT

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manufacturing and development to be fielded in the mid to late 2020's. this heavy bomber will replace the dependable but aging b-52's that were built in the 1960's. the committee is working with a team at the government accountability office for rigorous oversight on the new bomber program. when the b-52 requires and the 2040 time frame, its airframe will be approaching 100 years old, and the grandchild and grandchildren of the original pilots will be flying the plane. curing the era -- during the area of undersea deter ents, ohio class submarines must be replaced starting in 2027 due to the potential for hull fatigue. these submarines will literally wearing out. by then the first ohio submarine will be 46 years old. the oldest submarine to have sailed in our navy in its history. the third leg of our triad, our land-based icbm's, will not need
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to be replaced until the 2030's. we have authorized continued development and replacement for this responsive leg of the triad which acts as a counterbalance to hostile icbms. i know there is concern about russia's violation of the intermediate range nuclear force treaty, which is a foundational arms control treaty from the late 1980's. the committee has received classified briefings on the actions taken by russia, and they are indeed serious. i urge all my colleagues to request these classified briefings if they have not done so. some have called for the u.s. to reform the developmental testing systems that are noncompliant with the treaty, this committee has pursued a cautious and measured approach of looking at what kinds of research within the confines of the treaty we can perform if called upon to counter this threat. let me stress that i do not support withdrawing from the treaty. our best approach is to bring the russians back into compliance. with respect to energy use, which is an important aspect to
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the bottom line and to the operational capabilities of our military, the bill contains several provisions that enhance how the department pursues energy resilience, which directly supports readiness and mission assurance of our war fighters. additionally, this bill contains a requirement for a defense threat assessment and master plan on climate-related events, and a comprehensive strategy and technology road map on how the department can more effectively use water. in the area of compliance, technology and innovation, i'm pleased this bill authorizes and increases funding for science, technology and research efforts by over $375 million above the president's request, including a total of $2.3 billion for university research programs. these programs are critical to ensuring that our military retains its technological battlefield superiority in areas like cybersecurity, on-demand and robotic systems, high-energy lasers, space and hypersonics.
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the bill streamlines the ability to access expertise and technologies at our nation's universities and small businesses whose expertise and innovation is the cornerstone of the technologies on which our military depends. additionally, it continues efforts to strengthen the capabilities of our defense labs and test ranges, including removing red tape that inhibits their effectiveness and supporting their efforts to build world-class technological technological -- technical work forces. the bill also authorizes two new innovation offices, the strategic capabilities office and the diux silicon valley offices. with special authority to hire the unique program management talent they need to execute their innovative activity. in the area of acquisition reform, i am pleased that the bill continues efforts to streamline procurement practices to support the department's efforts to obtain the best goods, technologies, and services on a timely basis and at a fair and competitive price.
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the bill includes provisions from senator warren and senator blumenthal to ensure the pentagon works with contractors to safeguard working conditions. the bill also makes significant and needed changes to the way the department buys more agile and effective commercial acquisition practices. these new practices should enable the department to build and buy the most modern software and i.t. for our weapons systems, platforms and business systems. the bill also includes a provision from senator mccaskill that will provide more transparency and require more deliberate planning in the use of service contracts in order to control this rapidly growing part of the pentagon budget. in the area of pentagon management, i am pleased that the bill includes provisions to improve financial stewardship and help the pentagon finally get a clean, ordered opinion on its financial books. the pentagon has been trying to obtain a clean audit opinion for 27 years and the continual
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failure to do so calls into question its ability to steward the large funding increases proposed in this bill transparently and efficiently. this bill accomplishes much also on behalf of our service members and the department of defense. it authorizes a 2.1% pay raise for all service members. and reauthorizes the number of expiring bonus and special pay authorities to encourage enlistment, re-enlistment and continued service by active duty and reserve component military personnel. scheduled to expire next year. provides $25 million in supplemental impact aid and $10 million in impact aid for severe disabilities, including $5 million available to the secretary to direct the schools to areas with higher concentration of disabled military children. this legislation also enhances military family readiness by addressing the shortage of qualified child care workers and
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increasing flexibility for military families undergoing permanent changes of station. a provision in the bill also addresses the marine united situation by making the nonconsensual sharing of photos and videos of an individual's private anatomy or sexually explicit content under criminal offense even when the photo was consensual. once again, this bill includes authorization for needed package of health care reforms, including for the retired cost shares while it is far below those required bile civilian plans and that will be a try care for life that will achieve better health care outcomes for those with chronic conditions as well as cost savings for the
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beneficiaries for the medicare and try -- tricare programs. chairman mccain and i would like to offer an amendment that will authorize a new bring jobs home -- a new bring jobs home act round. this will shed excess infrastructure. in drafting this amendment, chairman mccain and i worked to include the lessons learned from the previous brac round. this would use the most recent national military strategy to determine if there is any excess capacity. any recommendation submitted by the secretary will have to be certified by cape, which is an independent agency within the department, require third-party validation by the g.a.o., and publish in the federal register all of the pertinent data and any list of closures would have to be affirmatively approved by the president and congress.
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i know this is a difficult issue, but i believe we must make difficult decisions as stewards of our department of defense and taxpayers dollars. i look forward to a debate. to my disappointment, the bill also includes a series of provisions that add unnecessary complications to necessary medical research efforts funded by the pentagon. these programs have led to new treatments for burn victims, new transplant procedures, and rehabilitation techniques for t.b.i. and a score of other medical innovations. these research programs have been individually returned by the national academy of science and have been innovative and effective. at a time when the president is proposing drastic cuts to n.i.h. research budgets, i do not think
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we should try to stop researchers from trying to find answers to life-threatening diseases. i am concerned about several provisions that would weaken important protections for defense manufacturers, including small businesses in my state in my state that is pay plied technology. i note that existing laws have provisions that prevent the taxpayers from paying unreasonable prices and these laws work to protect american jobs. we need to have an innovative, reliable and trusted domestic base as we grow the military and surge production requirements. finally, i would like to say a few words about the funding levels of defense. the bill out of committee includes 6 -- $610 billion and $62 billion for overseas
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contingency operation and it includes money for the d.o.e. and discretionary national defense spending. while the department requires additional resource, these funding levels do not adhere the spending levels of the budget control act of 2011. sequestration would be triggered and would wipe out $88 billion for across-the-board cuts. this would be a very complicated situation. we would be giving money on one hand and taking it back with the other literally. we must come to address the insufficient funding caps in the b.c.a. and do so for defense and nondefense accounts. since the budget control act was enacted in 2011, we have made changes to the discretionary budgets for defense and nondefense. we have had some certainty for
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the department of defense and also to other agencies. i believe if defense funds are increased, domestic agencies must also be increased because they too are suffering from the same severe budget as others have. all of us acknowledge that -- the f.b.i., the department of homeland security, the state department, and many other agencies that contribute to our national security. in fact, in the wake, literally, of hurricane harvey and hurricane irma, we have seen the centers for disease control dispatched, e.p.a. individuals dispatched to evaluate in the harvey situation threats to the environment and in the case of irma to try to prevent those threats by being deployed before the storm actually struck.
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so our national security, our public safety, all of these issues involve not just the department of defense, but the whole array of government enterprises. we understand that the well-being of our nation and what our men and women are fighting for depends on funded and -- funding agencies, not just the department of defense. for example, as i said before, with these two hurricanes, tens of thousands of americans have needed help and the federal agencies have come forward and i mentioned them, the centers for disease control, the federal aviation administration, the federal communications administration, the small business administration, the nuclear regulatory commission and the social security administration. providing the security of america requires the whole of government and it should all be funded fairly. we should remain responsible stewards of taxpayers money and
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have sufficient funds to meet the needs of our nation. let me conclude by once again thanking chairman mccain for working thoughtfully and on a bipartisan basis to develop this important piece of legislation. i would also like to thank the staff who worked tirelessly throughout the year on the bill. i look ford to facing the issues -- i look forward to facing the issues for the department of defense. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, it is with deep regret that i announce to the senate the passing of our dear friend and colleague senator pete domenici. pete had a long and notable career, one that took him from pitching on the baseball diamond to teaching mathematics at an albuquerque high school, from city politics to the u.s. senate. in fact, when he ran for the senate in 1972, domenici became
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the first republican elected from his home state in nearly four decades. by the time he retired, he did so as the longest-serving senator in new mexico history. like others in this chapter, i served for a number of years with senator domenici. i came to know him as a smart, hardworking, dedicated, and a very strong advocate for his home state of new mexico. so, mr. president, we're all saddened by this news today. the senate offersst -- offers its condolences to senator domenici's family and especially to his wife nancy. now, mr. president, the question i believe you have -- the presiding officer: all time has expired. the question occurs on the motion to proceed. all in favor say aye.
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those opposed, no. thethe ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the bill. the clerk: calendar number 1775, h.r. 2810, and act to authorize appropriations and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mccain: amendment number 1003. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from arizona proposes amendment 1003. mr. mccain: i ask consent that the reading be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i call up amendment number 871. the presiding officer: the clerk will report.
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the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell for mr. paul proposes amendment number 871 to amendment number 18003. mr. mcconnell: i can ask the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mcthe senator from -- the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i hope that senator paul is on his way to discuss his amendment and in the meantime -- there he is. mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the next members to be recognized for debate be 15 minutes for senator cardin, five minutes for senator
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murphy, seven minute ps for senator moran, and 15 minutes for senator paul and following senator paul senator corker be recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mccain: for the information of my colleagues in approximately 45 minutes, the senate will have a vote on a motion to table the paul amendment. that means around 12:15 p.m. right? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. earlier this week we commemorated the 16th anniversary of the attack on our country on september 11. it was a day that i'll think -- that i think none of us will ever forget. we were attacked and we wanted to take all necessary action to protect our country and go after those who perpetrated this attack against america. i was part of the congress at
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that time and was part of the congress that passed the 2001 authorization for the use of military force. that was targeted towards afghanistan. and i was part of the congress that when we took up the 2002 authorization for use of military force against iraq, and i voted against that authorization. mr. president, it's now been 14 years after the u.s. invasion and -- of iraq and the end of the saddam hussein regime, and yet, mr. president, we still have on the -- we still have the authority for the use of military force against iraq and it's still being used. it's time for that authorization to end. so i take this time to support senator paul's efforts to put a termination date on the 2002 awth radification and put --
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authorization and a termination date on 2001. we wanted our country to hold those responsible in afghanistan for the attack against america. that authorization is now 16 years old. let me read for my colleagues exactly what authorization said -- what we passed 16 years ago. that the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determined planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on september 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts of international
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terrorism against the united states by such nations, organizations, or persons. mr. president, that's the authorization. it's pretty specific. it's pretty specific to go after those that were responsible against the attack against the united states that was centered in afghanistan and it was used for that purpose and our military took action against afghanistan as a result of the attack against our country and that was authorize bid congress. it's hard to understand how you can get from the reading of this authorization, the use of military force today as congressionally authorized against isis in the middle east, in africa, or anywhere in the world. and that's the interpretation that has been given to the action of congress in 2001. i think that interpretation cannot be defended. congress has a responsibility to act. we have a responsibility to
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specifically authorize the new threats that we have against our country and what military force is appropriate. that's our responsibility. this is a different threat than we saw 16 years ago. it's our responsibility to give congressional authorization for the use of military force. some say it cannot be done. well, if it can't be done, then we don't agree on the authorization of force. but let me just remind my colleagues that the senate foreign relations committee a little over three years ago passed an authorization for the use of military force. we came together in our committee and i know senator kaine and senator flake have worked on a proposal that is certainly much more focused towards the current circumstances. now, some of us may have amendments to that. some of us may disagree with that, but that's the debate we should be having. there should be no debate that
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the 2001 authorization does not apply to our current circumstances. we should pass an authorization that's tailored to allow the president to effectively go after the direct threats to the united states. that's our responsibility. we owe it to the american people and we owe it to the men and women who serve in our military to give them clear authority from congress in their military operations. there has clearly -- there clearly needs to be direction given by congress. we have seen an abuse of the 2001 so we need to be pretty clear. i must tell you, i've heard over and over again from our generals that there is no military, only victory against isis. we can't win this by a military victory alone. we need to make sure that there are leaders in countries that protect their citizens, not only
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their physical security but good governance in their human rights. and we have new challenges that we need to deal with. cyber threats against the united states. we were concerned about a physical caliphate. now we're concerned about a virtual caliphate as we take more and more of the territory away from the isis forces. so that's what we need to do. senator paul's amendment gives us that opportunity by saying quite clearly that the 2001 and 2002 authorizations need to end, need to end, that we don't today have clear authorization from congress to pursue the military campaign against isis. and we need to have that. now, there are some who say, well, what happens if we don't meet that deadline? well, let me tell you something. the president has plenty of authority. read article 2 of the
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constitution. he has the inherent power to protect our country and our national security, and he can take action in order to do that. i was particularly struck why we need the paul amendment when i received a letter in my capacity on the senate foreign relations committee from secretary mattis and secretary untillerson. you see, -- secretary untillerson. the foreign relations committee was having meetings trying to figure out how to proceed on the authorization for use of military force. during one of those meetings we had the opportunity to have secretary mattis and secretary untillerson before us -- secretary untillerson before -- secretary tillerson before us and we had a conversation about what would make sense. it was done in a closeting so we could have a candid discussion. i thought that was what we should be doing. i can tell you, i left with the impression that there was room for congress to work with the
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administration on authorization on force. and i was hopeful that we were going to have an open hearing in the senate foreign relations committee, the committee of jurisdiction, on the aumf. now, we had similar discussions under the obama administration. as a result of those discussions, president obama submitted to congress what he believed would be an appropriate authorization for the use of military force. that authorization was never taken up but he asked for it. well, just recently, we received notice from secretary tillerson and secretary mattis that the president does not want congress to adjust the authorizations because he has adequate authority to do what he wants to do. i understand that. if you take their interpretations, not just this administration's, prior administrations', sprerp taitions of the --
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interpretations of the aumf, they have a blank check, but that's not our responsibility being carried out. we're the ones who are responsible for the authorization of force, not the president of the united states. and according to this president, he has blank check authorization from congress. so, mr. president, it's our responsibility to make sure that when our men and women are sent into harm's way, they have the direct authorization from the congress of the united states unless, by the i would, there's an urgent situation that requires the president to act, which he can do under article 2. so i would urge my colleagues that we have a chance to start this debate right here and now by supporting the paul amendment, and i intend to do that. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: a senator: whip. mr. schumer: i stand -- mr. durbin: i stand in support of the statement made by my colleague from the commonwealth
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of maryland. he knows as i know that our responsibilities as united states senators include some important votes, some of the votes that we cast will blur into history and will be hard -- we'll be hard-pressed for remember them. but certainly any vote involving sending america to war is a vote you will never forget, at least not this senator. and many of those votes that i've cast over the years in the house and the senate have created sleepless nights before the vote. because you understand that even under the best of circumstances, people will die as a result of your vote, not just the enemy but even our own risk their lives and die in defense of the united states. and so it was 9/11, 2001 when this united states senate was faced with the awesome responsibility of voting to go to war. there were two votes. the first was on the invasion of iraq. there were 23 of us. 22 democrats and one republican
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who voted against the authorization for the use of force in the invasion of iraq. i continued to believe when it comes to foreign policy, it's the most important vote that i've ever cast. 23 of us voted no. the second vote was on the invasion of afghanistan and a different vote completely. we had just gone through 9/11. 3,000 innocent americans had been killed. the images are still in my mind and will be until i die of what i saw as a result of that heinous attack, that atrocious attack by terrorists on the world trade center, on the pentagon, and of course what happened in the fields of pennsylvania. and so the vote came to the floor and they basically said, when it comes to the invasion of afghanistan, we are going after the people responsible for 9/11. i joined every other united states senator of both political parties in voting yes. we had to make it clear to terrorists around the world when you strike the united states, you will pay a price. we will hunt you down.
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we will find you. we will bring you to justice or bring you to your end on earth. and i voted for it. and i knew it was the right thing to do. that's what i was sent here to do. little did i realize having cast that vote, 15 or 16 years ago, that i wasn't just voting to go after the terrorists responsible for 9/11. i was voting for the longest war in the history of the united states of america, a war that continues to this day in afghanistan. i don't think there was a single member of the senate, either party, on the floor who would have believed that that's what we were voting for. it's happened. to date we've lost almost 2400 american lives, tens of thousands have been injured in afghanistan, billions and billions of dollars have been spent and there is no end in sight. now, who's responsible for that? ultimately, congress is responsible for that.
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the constitution and the people who wrote it made it clear that we have the responsibility to declare war. it's a responsibility which may have clarity in the constitution, but it's one that we don't accept willingly in most circumstances. most members of the senate will acknowledge that constitutional opportunity and authority, but they don't want to cast a vote for fear they're going to vote in an incorrect way as history will judge. now we have a proposal by senator paul of kentucky. it's one which i think should be supported by every member of the senate. what it says is this. within six months the authorization for the use of military force we voted for so long ago is going to be eliminated. and we in that period of time have to come up with a new authorization which reflects the new reality of the threat against the united states. that is our constitutional responsibility. the president as commander in chief almost must step up and defend america, but when it comes to the declaration of war,
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that's the responsibility of congress. i'm be supporting this effort by senator paul. i believe it's consistent with our constitutional responsibility. and i believe it's also time for us to renew the debate as to our future in afghanistan, a war which has claimed so many american lives, created so many casualties, and cost us so dearly. it is time for us on behalf of the american people to engage in that debate again. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. first let me lend my support to efforts to bring amendments before the floor later today or later this week with respect to strengthening our nation's by america laws. this has been a cause i've been working on for almost my entire career in the united states congress. and it's about time we start making sure that when we're spending billions of dollars for the united states military, that
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we prioritize american companies so that we don't allow for those dollars to flow overseas when we have companies in connecticut, north carolina, and illinois who can do the work. so this is important and i hope that we take some votes on these measures that i think will draw bipartisan support either this week or next. i do rise, though, to lend my voice as well to the amendment being offered by senator paul. let me stipulate that this is an extraordinary amendment to sunset an authorization of military force that currently provides the legal authorization for our continuing military efforts to take out al qaeda as they try to plan attacks against the united states and our allies. but it is time for extraordinary measures because we have simply not done our constitutional duty in declaring and authorizing war. i would argue, as many of my
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colleagues do, that no matter how necessary it is for the united states to take the fight to isis as we have in iraq and syria and other places around the world, that is not currently authorized by the united states congress. and it is a fairly extraordinary leap of statutory interpretation to think that an authorization to attack al qaeda, the perpetrators of the attacks on 9/11, allow you then to conduct a global war with almost no limits against this new enemy. and so to me if we don't reauthorize military action against isis, perhaps against other foes that we confront, then i'm not sure that congress will ever again authorize war. why? it's a lot harder to authorize military action today than it was a century ago or 50 years
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ago. we aren't marching conventional armies across a field against one another. we aren't signing neat peace treaties that provide a clear end to hostilities. the enemy is shadowy and diffuse and per spettual -- perpetual. and victory now is harder to define than ever before. so it is very easy for the united states congress to just step back and say that authorizing military force is too hard, it's too difficult, and so we outsource it to the executive branch to decide who we fight, where we fight, and when we fight, and how we fight. that's not what the founding fathers imagined. and in fact, there's have good reason to vest in the congress the sole authority to declare war. if i thought that we were going to do this without the sunsetting of the existing aumf's, then i wouldn't support
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this extraordinary measure. but i've been here long enough to know that it's far too easy and convenient for this congress to allow for an executive, whether it be a republican or democratic executive, to define the parameters of war and to name new enemies. that have not been before this body for debate. and so i think it's time for us to sunset these authorizations. and i do think that we will be able with that pressure to be able to come up with a new authorization that gives our military and our executive what they need in order to continue the fight against groups like isis while protecting the interests of our constituents who frankly by and large, no matter what state you are from, do not want the president of the united states, this or any other, to have an unchecked ability to bring the fight to anyone anywhere around the globe.
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and i will just tell you, take a look at the way the president has suggested that he was authorized to take action against the assad regime as evidence of how unending the current interpretation can be. the justification for that action was because it was next to action being taken against isis, which was authorized because isis has some familiarial relationship to al qaeda. that is three or four steps removed from any debate that this body has ever had. that is not what the founding fathers intended. i am going to support senator paul's amendment. i am then going to vigorously work with my colleagues to try to craft an authorization that gets the job done. it is about time. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. prior to arriving in the united states after the election of 2010, i was a member of the house of representatives, and i'm one of the 30% of us in
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congress today who were here in 2001 and approved the use of military force in real estate sponse to the terrorist attacks -- in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. i hate to say this at this moment because the vote is so closely pending, but i don't know what the right answer to this question is. the one that we face today. i firmly believe that it is the united states senate, the united states congress' authority -- the constitutional responsibility -- to declare w war. i worry that the resolution that's before us only eliminates the current resolutions, only eliminates the current authority. what's missing is the follow-up. and i just heard my colleague from connecticut indicate that he will work vigorously to see that we have the opportunity then to vote for a resolution authorizing force.
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but in some ways we have the cart ahead of the horse. i will be one who will always argue that it is our responsibility, it is congress' responsibility to make these decisions, as determined by the united states constitution. it gives us that authority and that responsibility. the question, in my mind, is it prudent to eliminate the authorizations today before we have a new authorization in place? and i don't know the answer to that question. and while i have heard my colleagues say, we'll work to accomplish that, i worry, having experienced the united states senate now for the last seven years, that a six-month opportunity will be foregone, those authorizations may not occur, and at best once again the united states senate may be presented with a fait accompli,
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which is here is a authorization on force. take it or leave t we will have a gun on our head to approve something in an expeditious way. it's not really what i would be supportive of. and once again i will have the dilemma, do i vote for some authorization of force, even though it is not the one that is well-thought-out? if i thought we were going to do an authorization of force, i would have expected it to have occurred already. i commend senator cork other, the chairman of the committee, and many of my colleagues who have worked to put an authorization, a resolution in place, and voted it out of the committee, but no vote has occurred on the senate floor. no vote has occurred in the u.s. house of representatives. and i don't know whether we're setting the stage for us to be in once again a position of here it is, take it or leave it, or, worse than that i suppose, is
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leaving those who serve our country in a position of not knowing whether congress supports their efforts. we already have troops on the ground in afghanistan. i just returned from afghanistan. this is my fourth visit there. i was there over the weekend of labor day. came to the conclusion that we belong in afghanistan. i don't believe this is about rebuilding afghanistan as much as it is about protecting americans. 21 terrorist organizations at work in afghanistan out to kill citizens of the united states, attack us, and we have a government of afghanistan that is allowing us the opportunity to be engaged in a battle to defeat those terrorist organizations. the idea that we would walk away -- in fact, i heard my colleagues earlier talk about how long we'd been there. does anybody talk about how long
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terrorism is going to be with us? so the idea that we should set a parameter for our time frame knowing that we're engaged in a great battle for the future of our nation with terrorist organizations who want us dead seems to be the wrong way to look at this issue. i don't know what the right time frame is and i'm saddened that we're still there. but it's not a matter of time. it's a matter of accomplishment of mission, of ending terrorist attacks against the united states. 9/11 remains fresh in my mind. so the issue that we face is, does this resolution offered by the senator from kentucky put us in a position in which we finally do what we're supposed to do, which in my view is authorize -- declare war, not necessarily an authorization of the use of force; whatever that mechanism of authorization is. does this resolution, this vote we'll take today, does it put us
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in a position to take advantage of a circumstance in which advantage finally utilizes its authority and accepts its responsibility? i don't know the answer to that question. we are making progress in afghanistan. the greatest evidence of that to me was my visit to bagram, to the hospital in which i learned 84% of the patients at the hospital are afghan kne afghani- afghani, not americans. i support the statement of strategy by the administration in regard to our efforts in afghanistan, and particularly the need to deal with pakistan and the sanctuary. the last thing i would want to do having just returned from visiting with troops, including many kansans, is to make a decision today that they no longer are supported by congress. going to war is something that,
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in my view, has been too easy in the united states, and we've had presidential leadership for a long time that has downplayed the importance of war. we've been told it will be easy, revenues will -- oil revenues will pay for the war. it seems as if our political leadership in this country wants the american citizens to believe that we can go to war and they not suffer any consequence or participate in any way. declaring war and authorization of force by congress brings the american people into this and rather than downplaying the significance and sacrifice and making certain that others, not just our soldiers and their families, not just our militarymen and their families are the ones that make a sacrifice, that ware all in this together, would involve a congress making the decision that this endeavor, whatever it is, is worth the potential loss of life by americans who serve in our military. mr. president, these are difficult, challenging, but
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important decisions. and i want to work with my colleagues to find the right solution, not just to walk away from a resolution, but to make sure that we have in place something that gives the authority to our troops to succeed. i yield the floor. i ask unanimous consent that senator mccain be recognized prior to senator corker's speaking time. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reed: reserving the right to object, i would ask if the gentleman from kansas would modify the request and i be allowed to speak for up to five minutes before senator mccain. mr. moran: mr. president, i would modify my request and ask unanimous consent that senator mccain and senator reed be recognized prior to senator corker's speaking time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. paul: mr. president? the presiding officer: senator from kentucky. mr. paul: for the first time in 15 years we are debating the congressional role in the
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declaration of war. we have fought the longest war in u.s. history under an original authorization to go after the people who attacked us on 9/11. that war is long since over. the war has long since lost its purpose. and it's a long time that -- and it's long time we have a debate in congress over whether we should be at war or not. it is the constitutional role of congress. interestingly, the folks that you have heard on either side of the issue have said it is our job. it is what we should be doing. and yet we haven't done if for 16 years. who in their right mind thinks that congress is actually going to do their job without being forced to do their job? my resolution is actually silent on whether we should still be at war. my resolution just simply says that the resolutions that we have previously passed will
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ex-expire. i don't believe they have anything to do with the seven wars we're involved with currently anyway. but if we were to force them to expire, we would then have a debate. but for those who say, yes, congress should exert its authority, congress should be involved in the initiation of war, they don't really believe that unless they're going to vote that way. what will happen is the continuation of the same, that we abdicate that role and let the president do whatever he wants. it's worse than that. let's say we were to vote for my resolution and that the authorization to go to war after 9/11 expired. do you think any of the wars would end? no, the neoconservatives and the neoliberals believe the president has unlimited authority. they call it article 2 authority for war. there is some authority given to the president -- it is an enormous amount of authority -- to execute the war but not initiate the war. the sole duty of initiation of war was given specifically to
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congress. so if these authorities were to expire, the president already says, i have all the authority i want under the constitution to do whatever i want. but that's not what our founders wanted. madison, if he were here, would vehemently disagree. madison wrote that the executive branch is the branch most prone for war. therefore, the constitution with studied care vested that power in the legislature. it was supposed to be difficult to go to war. and some nash their hands and -- and some gnash their hands and say, oh, the senate can never agree on some resolution to go to war? you know how long it took us after pearl harbor? 24 hours. you know how long it took us after 9/11? three days. we can come together as a body when we're attacked, when we're unified in purpose. but, guess what? after 16 years, it's difficult
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to determine the purpose in afghanistan. but also those who say, oh, we need a new authorization, but it's going to authorize war anywhere anytime with no geographic limit or no time limit, basically they would be authorizing everything we're doing now, not putting any limitations on it. we're in yemen. we are aiding and abetting the saudi war in yemen. yet there's been no vote on it. 17 million people live on the edge of starvation because of the saudi blockade and bombing campaign. we are aiding aabetting that is and yet there's been no vote here in congress. look, we've got problems here at home. these wars are costing trillions of dollars. they're unauthorized. we have not voted on them. and i say, look, let's pay attention to some of the problems we've got here at home. we're going to have $150 billion tab for harvey hurricane damage in texas. and yet we continue with
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unauthorized, unconstitutional, undeclared war. i think it's time to think about what we've -- the problems we've got here at home. i think it's time to think about the $20 trillion debt we've got. but still we have this gnashing of hands, this wringing of hands, this gnashing of teeth that say, oh, my godness, what if congress didn't do its job? what if we allowed these authorities, these authorization of force to expire, and we didn't get another one? well, the thing is, that's abdicating your constitutional duty. the duty is to do what is in your constitutional duty. it's not to say, well, the other congressmen won't do what their job is, so i'm not going to do my job. our job is to enforce, obey, and execute the constitution. the constitution says, congress shall declare war. it doesn't say the president can go to war anywhere, anytime around the globe. it says congress shall declare war. so for the first time in 15
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years, we are debating whether or not congress has a role in this. and for those who will vote no against my resolution, they're basically voting, even though they will say otherwise, they are voting to say, well, eh, let's just let the status quo go obviously the president can do it whatever the wants. it's too emotional, too controversial to debate war. so we'll just keep letting the president do what he wants. mine is a vote to grab power back. mine is a vote to say, the senate has prerogative here. ths the power to the legislature. that's what this vote is about. it's about grabbing back the power to declare war and saying this is a senate prerogative. so the majority in all likelihood will say no. we don't want to do that. we think that would risk some war somewhere sometime. that's the point. we should be debating where we should be at war. should we be at war in somalia?
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should we be at war in


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